Blog Post #3

“Presidential” Communication?:  Assessing the Impact of the “Twitter President” on the Record of History Made by the Presidential Records Act

Research Summary

Our Research examined whether or not the Presidential Records Act is sufficiently able to preserve an accurate and thorough record of the President’s online communications, specifically on Twitter. We examined the President’s use of Twitter through both his personal @realDonaldTrump account and his “presidential” @POTUS accounts as a way to examine content of the accounts and the differences in use. A lasting concern from our research is who the responsibility of preservation of these digital communications falls on, whether the administration, national archivist, or the social media platform itself.

Achievements of our Collaboration

Dr. Magaldi and my’s research was accepted for presentation at the Midwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business conference in Chicago for March 2019. The presentation was scheduled to only be roughly 15 minutes, but because one of the presenters was absent, I was able to present our work for our allotted time, but I also answered questions for an additional 20 minutes. It was exciting to see the audience engaging with our material and our research and many of the questions they asked were ones that I had answers to thanks to the depth of research Dr. Magaldi and I tackled. This research paper will also be published in the proceedings of the Midwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business journal after passing a double-blind peer-review process, which we are immensely proud of. Our research paper is under consideration for publication in the Midwest Law Journal and expect a decision in the coming months as well.

Learning Outcomes, Reflection,  Dr. Magaldi

Initially this research started for me as a way to explore a topic that I felt was completely under-recognized. This exploration was born out of frustration and a desire for answers that I could not seem to find anywhere else. Having to dig for the answers we needed was a driving force because it only made us want to find them even more, and many of the times pushed us to ask new questions that had not yet been considered. Working with Dr. Magaldi added to my research experience in many ways. She is not only incredibly knowledgeable in law, but also as an academic she made it clear what was expected from me at every step along the way and even helped to have my work submitted to a law conference, which I would not have believed could be possible at the beginning of this research. We met weekly to keep each other updated on our thoughts and progress as well as communicating through email when we saw articles or news that was relevant to our work. The greatest motivator for me was knowing that at the end of this project we would have an answer, or at least the start of an answer, to a question that many people are asking, and to be able to work hard to reach that goal was a motivating goal.

Future Plans for Collaboration

Though I am graduating in May 2019, Dr. Magaldi and I hope to continue our work together on this research before I begin my applications to law school.


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